|the 2009 Governor's
Carolina SC, Kerr Lake, NC * June 20-21
a Wayfarer perspective
by Richard Johnson (W10139) with pictures by Linda Heffernan (W2458)
----- Original Message -----
From: Linda Heffernan
To: 'Al Schonborn'
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 8:05 AM
Subject: Gov Cup 2009
Al, Here are some pics from the North Carolina Governor's Cup regatta. This event has been around for a long time. We remember sailing W-611 in this regatta in 1980 as we prepared for the Tawas Bay Worlds. Richard will send some race info later today. Linda
Jim and Linda Heffernan
Richard Johnson and daughter, Alyssa
checking out the day's results
a well earned rest in the dormitory?
Governor's Cup action on Kerr Lake
----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Johnson W10139
To: Al Schonborn
Cc: Jim and Linda Heffernan
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 11:11 PM
... Let me see if I can put it all back together. I won't go into all the details that led us to racing the Governor's Cup but I have to say I haven't had this much fun at a regatta in long time. The facts are as follows: Air Temps: 80 to 90°F Water Temps: 70 to 80°F Winds 13 to 25 mph. The conditions could not have been more perfect, especially for Wayfarers.
The open class consisted of 6 boats: two Wayfarers (Morning Star and Free Range Chick'n), one Mutineer, one Y-Flyer, one Vanguard 15, one 5-0-5 and one Lightning. Not a large class but several capable boats which had a Portsmouth rating below that of (i.e. faster than) the Wayfarer. After slathering on sunscreen, tying down large hats, and giving the sunglasses one last swipe with with a clean rag, we headed for the starting line. The Open class was the third start, and we went on time along with 5 Buccaneers (Arrrrgh!). Alyssa and I (did I mention she crewed for me) felt that being at the line on time would have been way too conformist and decided to be fashionably late, which was also how we finished. Jim and Linda got down to business and were on the line, on time, in the thick of the start.
This is where it gets difficult. It was a big course, twice around, windward-leeward with the finish to windward. We had 5 other classes on the water with us - somewhere in the range of 40 to 60 boats. We kept our eyes on Jim and Linda, which was easy because they were in front of us. The winds by this time were in the high teens and neither boat had the grit to fly the chute so we just rolled down wind. It was about this time it became necessary to open the bailers on the old Mk III because of the spray and waves blowing in. The sucking sound of a fast-moving Elvstrom bailer is akin to being in the dentist's office with an evacuation tube hanging over your lower incisors. This made us feel very uneasy for the rest of the regatta, but we could never quite figure out why. At any rate, the Heffernans in Morning Star finished about 30 to 40 seconds in front of us. I'm not sure how the other boats finished, all I know is we worked like ants (dogs lie around and sleep) to catch them and we couldn't.
The winds continued to build for the second race, and Alyssa and I figured our fashionably late strategy was passé. Our new strategy was to barge in on friends and impose on their kindness. Fortunately, Jim and Linda were tucked in next to the committee boat at the start, and they were friends. It was perfect. Jim allowed us to have a little room and we tacked off as soon as possible to free up their air. It also freed up our air and we found a few nice lanes up to the windward mark. In fear of Jim and Linda, Alyssa and I switched places so that I could go to the front of the boat, tie the spinnaker in knots and cuss like a sailor. Jim and Linda just kind of set their spinnaker. (Dull, very dull.) This is where Jim and I disagree. He remembers me getting to leeward mark first and I remember him getting to the leeward mark first. Regardless, there was no question that Linda and Jim put about 30 seconds between the two of us by the next windward mark. 30 seconds is as good as an ocean and that is how we finished.
As we rolled down to the next start, there were multiple capsizes on the course and the wind just kept coming. The temps in the afternoon were in the low 90's and spray felt great. As the puffs hit, the boat would woggle out of the hole, blast through the bow wave and skim away, Elvstom's pulling a full vacuum. Our mast was bent like a french fry and we were lovin' it. Unfortunately, the committee boat wasn't and the last race was abandoned. After I fell off the boat in attempt to aid and avoid a rampaging Flying Scott (a.k.a. Water Rhino) as it crashed into the dock, we spent the rest of the afternoon rehydrating and stuffing ourselves with Southern specialties like fried chcken, barbecue, hamburgers, roast chicken, beans, cole slaw, green beans salad and really big chocalate chip cookies, not to mention sweet iced tea and sweet lemonade. Sweet, very very sweet!
By the next morning the Tanzer class had disappeared. There had been whispers about the forecast, and grumblings about Father's Day and they were gone. By the time we hit the water, the wind had picked up where it had left off the day before, and all the fleets had thinned. Unfortunately, the temperatures were only in the 80's and Alyssa didn't have a spray jacket. The first race was to begin at 9:30 a.m. but it was discovered just before the start that the committee boat was dragging its anchor. We waited an hour for them to get the anchor and the course reset. In the meantime, most boats paced impatiently back and forth across the lake while other searched out comfy hidey holes to weather the wait. Eventually, the postponement flag dropped and racing got underway.
The start was normally confusing, but we were on time and tacked out of the melee as soon as possible. Obviously, we weren't at the front. On the first leg, Jim and Linda were about 50 to 100 yards ahead, sailing about 10° higher and pulling away. I had decided to raise the board slightly, and in this case too much, to our detriment. We did our best to keep up with Jim and Linda, and perhaps gained a little on the leeward leg. As we rounded the leeward mark, I asked Alyssa to put the board all the way down. As we turned, we were pointing higher and gaining on Jim and Linda. I really felt like we might have a chance. Jim kept glancing back at us, but we were never able to make up the time. Jim and Linda maintained and expanded their lead.
Jim and Linda won the Open Class with a Lightning just behind. Free Range Chick'n picked up third. It was a great weekend for the Wayfarers with a lot of people both admiring and asking a lot of questions about the boats.
We all sail as much as we can and many times I will leave the water and wonder why I even bothered. The answer is that every now and then you get a perfect weekend, high winds, high temps, open water, and the perfect boat, and it makes it all worthwhile.
Richard Johnson and Alyssa Johnson